14 Things To Negotiate When Being Fired


By Ernest Wencel, President of the Board at E4D, for Punkt X. Ernest specializes in strategic HR management. For over 7 years, he has been running outplacement programs for international corporations and individual clients. Ernest is a long-time practitioner of Buddhism.

  • Don’t wait for the layoff, think now about how to negotiate with your employer and keep the job.
  • If you can’t keep it, there are still a few ways to reduce the damage and not get out empty-handed.
  • Don’t count on the help of the government.

‘I’m very sorry, but due to the coronavirus we are forced to reduce employment, so we have to say goodbye to you…’ 

It’s not easy but to accept, but be ready for such a conversation starter by your current supervisor! Think about what you can do in this situation and what you can ask your employer for when leaving the company.

Some things on the list below will, to a greater or lesser extent, remain at the expense of the employer despite your departure. The employer’s costs such as car leasing, long-term medical or insurance contracts take some time to provide while for you they could be an invaluable help. 

However, remember that the employer does not need to do anything more than required by law. I also believe that for most employers, layoffs caused by coronavirus are extremely stressful and not an easy decision. This stress comes from the concern about the future of the company, but also from the responsibility for its employees, both those with whom he has to part and those who will remain to save the business.

  1. Ask if there is a possibility instead of dismissal, to reduce working hours, e.g. half-time.
  2. It may be worth proposing to the employer a reduction of your own salary during the pandemic.
  3. Check if it is possible to work with your employer on a self-employed basis to run a project.
  4. Talk to your employer if they can agree to release you from the obligation to work during the notice period.
  5. Be sure to ask if there is a possibility of using the outplacement program (its amount is about one monthly salary).
  6. Ask for additional payments on top of the minimum severance pay (arguing it with the number of years of work in the company and successful projects).
  7. Be sure to ask for payment of the equivalent for unused holidays.
  8. It is worth talking about insurance and/or medical care (the cost of the package for the employer may be significantly lower than for an individual customer and perhaps the employer will agree to extend the package) or group life insurance.
  9. Make sure you’re paid the bonus for the previous year pro-rata.
  10. Perhaps the employer will agree that you can use a company car during the notice period (It might be very useful – especially for trips to job interviews). Consider taking over from your employer (on preferential terms) a laptop and a cell phone to use them in job hunting.
  11. Ask for modifications to the rules of using stock options, e.g. covering administrative costs by the company.
  12. Check if it is possible to pay for your relocation if it is necessary. Maybe you moved from another city, because this was the expectation of the employer, and now you are forced to return to your hometown.
  13. It is worth asking about a  reference letter from the employer and on LinkedIn. Also ask for any diplomas, certificates, permissions and other evidence that you are a valued and valuable employee.
  14. Monika Ćwikła, HR Specialist at FlexHR offers you to ask a very good question, ‘Will our former employer recommend you to his clients, business partners, prospects?’ He can do it by e-mail or phone.  

Dear friends, let’s respect the work and our employers. The employer should respect those employees who sometimes put the children to sleep first, and then sat down at the computers to prepare reports, summaries, or analyses needed for the morning.

Perhaps instead of waiting with fear for the verdict, as employees, we should think about what we can do together to keep our company alive. Perhaps we are all ready to give up part of our remuneration jointly, go on unpaid leave or postpone the payment of our bonuses to improve the financial liquidity of the company.

Or we can think only about ourselves “because I deserve it” (and yes – it’s true that you deserve it). However, only by rising to the above-personal level, we can all survive together, otherwise, we will “die”.

Sometimes, especially in such difficult moments, it is perfectly visible like in a microscope what organizational culture we really have, not at the level of slogans and declarations, but concrete actions.

Dear Employer, you are getting a real test today. If you have genuinely cared about your people, if you have built the culture of your organization based on true values, then today I am convinced they will do everything to take care of you and your company. But if people have been just items in the Excel sheet, then you might not survive…

We are currently all in a difficult situation and it is only up to us how we get through it.

Perhaps employers will assist more in the crisis, or maybe employees will show more support, but I do not believe that the government will help us.

With great kindness to all of you!


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14 Things To Negotiate When Being Fired